By 4:00, my mind starts phasing out. The screen becomes increasingly difficult to look at, my eyes almost voluntarily going cross-eyed in their sockets. Willingly eliminating any need for me to focus on words and work.

I don't want this heartache, I don't want to break down and cry.

I find myself slicing my thoughts into tired cliches, talking of pain and fatigue like I have discovered the originals. Crap. My noding has taken on some pathetic form, like a high profile sobfest, an online wail of desperation... Blurry until 5:00, I coax myself along by typing random meaningless commands to keep my screensaver from activating. The bell rings, I grab my stuff and run.

I'm back in my shitty apartment by 6:00 pm. The day is still crisp, clean. And I'm home, with nothing to do. What was I thinking when I took the train back to Brooklyn? I should be out doing something, with someone, somewhere. One flesh-and-blood friend is in Florida with her husband. My other gal pal lives Upstate. I have no-one to call and drag to Manhattan with me. My cousin/confessor/little sister lives in Tel Aviv. I'd call her, but I don't want to chat, I want to move. I have people to talk to, but not a soul to hang out with. How sad.

I have no friends, Mommy.

I change into leggings, a tank top, my runners. Take a sweatshirt and a bottle of water, head back to the city.

Battery Park. There is a walkway that starts at the base of Manhattan and runs along the West Side all the way up. It follows the Hudson River, more or less, and is crowded down here with walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers.

It's still light, there are people around.
I'll stop when it gets dark.

I take off running, head down and legs stretching out. Sailing, gliding on a momentum of muscles I rarely use. Rhythmically connecting with sidewalk in randomly spaced spots.

I steady pace, and I roll along.

The headlights reflect off the back of my pounding thoughts. It's been 2 hours, I am slamming the pavement still, 72nd street and moving. The walkway is empty, deserted. I can no longer hear the music playing in my ears. My shirt is wet, soaked through. It's 9:00 at night and I'm alone in this city.

Slow to a thudding halt. Make my aching way to the street, to the lights, and the subway. I put off the return a little longer, walk the 3 blocks back to a Barnes and Nobles I know is open till midnight and I don't leave until they kick me out for closing.

I'm safe. My anonymity will hide me.